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"They have it in their stomachs but they can't vomit it up"

Dalits, reservations, and "caste feeling" in rural Andhra Pradesh

Clarinda Still

This article examines the social effects of India's affirmative action policy (“reservations“) on the relationship between dalits and the dominant castes. Drawing on fieldwork in rural southern India, this article looks at the way people use their knowledge of reservations (however imperfect) to form opinions that shape behavior in everyday life. I argue that this policy is used to vindicate upper-caste antipathy toward dalits and has become an important part of new discriminatory attitudes. While discrimination on the basis of pollution has become muted, in its place reservations (combined with ideas about habits, morality, and cleanliness) have become the principal idiom through which the dominant openly express resentment toward dalits. In this sense, the language of reservations enables and legitimates an upsurge of anti-dalit feeling. This leads us to consider whether the positive effects of the policy can effectively counteract the caste antagonism caused by it in everyday life.

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Dalit Simchai

This article focuses on the concept of identity by juxtaposing New Age philosophy and nationalism in the Israeli context. Based on my qualitative research, I deconstruct the Israeli New Age discourse on ethno-national identity and expose two approaches within this discourse. The more common one is the belief held by most Israelis, according to which ethno-national identity is a fundamental component of one's self. A second and much less prevalent view resembles New Age ideology outside Israel and conceives of ethno-national identities as a false social concept that separate people rather than unite them. My findings highlight the limits of New Age ideology as an alternative to the hegemonic culture in Israel. The difficulty that Israeli New Agers find in divorcing hegemonic conceptualizations demonstrates the centrality and power of ethno-national identity in Israel.

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Citizenship in religious clothing?

Navayana Buddhism and Dalit emancipation in late 1990s Uttar Pradesh

Nicolas Jaoul

cabinet to protest against its lack of commitment to social reforms, Ambedkar, leader of the “untouchables,” or Dalits, started what I refer to as the Navayana movement by converting himself and several hundred thousand of his followers to Buddhism. 1 The

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Beyond citizenship

Adivasi and Dalit political pathways in India

Nicolas Jaoul and Alpa Shah

subalterns to adopt modern political means and ideas. While focusing on peasant revolts in the 1920s, the early Subaltern studies collective thus systematically kept silent on the mobilizations of the Dalit movement in the same period. Sadly, although it

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Crisis and retirement

Alienation in Kerala's tea belt

Jayaseelan Raj

payout was the only means to retain respect, sustain kinship relations, and engage with everyday sociality in the plantations. The payout was vital to fight the alienation resulting from being a Dalit-Tamil-underclass retiree in the plantations. Based on

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Whose Reality Counts?

Emergent Dalitbahujan Anthropologists

Reddi Sekhara Yalamala

), also often now referred to as Dalits, were called ‘untouchables’ during the colonial period and after. Both SC and OBC people perform the back-breaking work that the higher castes do not do, mainly skilled agricultural labour, stone-cutting, pottery

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The politics of entitlement

Affirmative action and strategic voting in Uttar Pradesh, India

Lucia Michelutti and Oliver Heath

This article focuses on the struggles and shifting political strategies of two major political players in northern India: the Yadavs (a low-to-middle ranking pastoral agricultural caste) and the dalits (former untouchables, which in the region mainly come from the Chamar caste) and their political parties, the Samaj wadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, respectively. Both communities (and political parties) have strongly benefited from affirmative action policies over the last three decades. We argue that that these affirmative action policies, and the political rhetoric that has tended to accompany them, have been “vernacularized“ in local sociocultural structures, which in turn has helped to produce folk theories of democracy and social justice that are directly and indirectly legitimizing conflict, and producing new forms of caste-based strategic voting, based on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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Manuela Ciotti

This article explores histories of social separation, impermanent encounters, and lasting political alliances between Dalit (“untouchable”) Chamar male youth and members of the upper-caste Brahman community in a village in eastern Uttar Pradesh, North India. The entry of young Chamar people into educational institutions followed by political mobilization and, for some, the transition into employment, has led them to appropriate spaces often beyond the purview of previous generations. Against the backdrop of Chamar histories as agricultural laborers, powerless political subjects, and actors of religious marginality, new forms of masculinity, sociality, and class formation have come into being. The article focuses on young Chamar men’s involvement in village politics, particularly during the 2005 local elections. It is argued that village politics—rather than inter-caste friendships, which remain short-lived as a result of caste discrimination—has engendered an arena of sociality where caste-driven interest produce more durable social links between young low-caste men and members of the upper-caste community. As India’s political history illustrates, the episode of electoral politics analyzed in this article brings together differently situated communities within the nation, highlighting how the unresolved question of caste discrimination conflates with the compulsion to political power. If young Chamar men are the new protagonists in this history, their role is the outcome of broader changes in the consciousness around political participation and the opening up of democratic possibilities for minority populations in a postcolonial setting.

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Emancipation as social equality

Subaltern politics in contemporary India

Indrajit Roy

one of India’s most impoverished. As elsewhere in India, impoverishment is disproportionately concentrated among historically oppressed Dalit communities, 3 which continue to be stigmatized as “untouchable castes” by local and regional elites

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“Real, practical emancipation”?

Subaltern politics and insurgent citizenship in contemporary India

Alf Gunvald Nilsen

today. Dalits ( Gorringe 2005 ; Waghmore 2013 ), 1 poor rural women ( Madhok 2013 ; Sharma 2008 ), informal sector workers ( Agarwala 2013 ), lower-caste peasantries ( Jaffrelot 2003 ; Michelutti 2008 ; Witsoe 2013 ), and Adivasis ( Nilsen 2012